As reliable, affordable, and comfortable workhorses go, the Ford Focus is certainly up there with the best. A replacement for the ever-popular Ford Escort back in 1998, the Focus is currently in its third generation as of 2011.
The Focus, in its various generations, is available in three and five-door hatchback flavors, saloon, estate, and coupe-cabriolet formats. Today I will be reviewing the third-generation Ford Focus hatchback, and seeing whether it still lives up to its reputation as one of Britain’s best-loved family cars.
What is the Ford Focus hatchback like to drive?
Those of you unfamiliar with Ford’s latest EcoBoost petrol engine technologies will be pleasantly surprised to learn that the carmaker has developed a range of small-displacement engines that are giving their bigger diesel equivalents a run for their money!
For example, the 1.0-liter (yes – that’s right!) EcoBoost petrol engine is capable of delivering 99 or 123 brake horsepower, depending on what version you go for, and are perfect for journeys around town or on the motorway.
Petrolheads can opt for the more powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged petrol, although at just under £20k you might want to wait a couple of years to grab yourself a bargain and avoid those inevitable depreciation hits that affect all brand new cars.
On the road, the Ford Focus hatchback handles pretty well and this has even been improved upon from previous generations. It’s really grippy on the road, and the car feels very solid which is what you need when cornering.
The only comment I would make is that the Focus isn’t as “smooth” on the road as say a Volkswagen Golf, but for the class of car this is in, you can’t expect to have no negative points! Having said all that, the third-generation Ford Focus hatchback has hardly any road or wind noise at speed, making this the perfect hatch for long journeys, as well as the daily school run.
Inside the Cabin
When you sit behind the wheel of the latest Ford Focus hatchback, one thing that you will remember about this car is that the driving position is perfect.
It’s a car that accommodates drivers of all shapes and sizes thanks to a plethora of seat and steering wheel adjustments on offer, and the layout of the pedals means that you don’t suffer any kind of leg pain on long journeys as you might in other cars in this class.
There are a few niggly points that I should point out to you, though. Firstly, visibility can be limited at the back if you are trying to reverse or merge into another lane when you’re on the road. Secondly, the dashboard arrangement might be confusing to the uninitiated and lastly, those that seek to maximize space might be better off opting for a Volkswagen Golf instead.
According to Ford specialists, you get plenty of equipment for your money in the Ford Focus hatchback. Air conditioning is a standard feature across the board, and those opting for the Zetec model get a DAB Bluetooth-enabled stereo and a heated windscreen; something which I’m sure you will agree, is very useful in cold snaps!